For the latest edition of Oberlin and Beyond, I had the opportunity to interview the brilliant Alexis Mitrushi. Mitrushi is a third-year viola major in the conservatory.
In our interview, we discuss Mitrushi’s love for music, her development as a person at Oberlin, and her plans for the future. I hope you enjoy.
TM: How did your musical career begin and what led you to play the viola?
AM: I started taking piano lessons in third grade for fun. In fifth grade, the middle school fine arts programs came to our elementary school to showcase themselves. A string quartet came and played several songs by the Beatles, and after hearing the violist doing a couple of solos, I fell in love and knew I wanted to play the viola, so I joined my middle school’s orchestra program in sixth grade.
TM: So after developing your passion for music from a young age, were you specifically looking for a college with a conservatory coming out of high school? What sold you on Oberlin?
AM: Originally, I didn’t think I was going to go into music. My parents wanted me to study law and go into business school, so that’s where I mainly applied. Then I also applied to a few music schools because that was/is my passion. Oberlin was one of my dream schools because of the professors and undergrad opportunities, as well as opportunities to study subjects other than music.
TM: What was the admissions process like to become a member of the conservatory at Oberlin? What advice would you give to high schoolers currently going through it?
AM: The admissions process consisted of the same online process as several other schools on Common App submitting all of the required materials, as well as the audition. I did the regional audition in my hometown, where the live recording was sent to the viola faculty. Something that helps with nerves is getting as much practice playing for friends and family prior to auditions, as well as trying to do deep breathing exercises before auditions and reminding yourself that you put in the work and that you are there to express yourself.
TM: How has Oberlin developed you as a person outside of the classroom? Have you learned anything new about yourself thanks to such a unique college experience?
AM: I think since coming to Oberlin, I've been able to discover a lot more about my identity and what I am passionate about in the world and specifically related to music, especially having the opportunity to take classes in areas I feel strongly about such as GSFS along with conservatory studies. I have a wonderful viola professor who is very accepting and encouraging of me expressing myself, as well as challenging me. I also believe the people that I have met and have become close to have inspired me in so many ways because so many of them are incredibly driven and have some of the most creative minds I've ever known.
TM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How do you see Oberlin helping you get there?
AM: To be honest, I'm not sure where exactly I see myself in 10 years, but I know that I want to be doing what I am passionate about and not limiting myself to a strict set of ideas. I feel like Oberlin is preparing me for that by providing a wide variety of musical, as well as non-musical, opportunities. I think the people I have met at Oberlin also challenge me to be creative and explore myself/my independence, so I think that will play a major role in who I want to be as well.